Hopitutuqaiki completes ninth successful summer arts program

Art school on Hopi Reservation hopes to find permanent, year-round location, selling calendars to raise money

Hopitutuqaiki Art School is selling calndars to raise money for a permanent, year-round location. Submitted photo

Hopitutuqaiki Art School is selling calndars to raise money for a permanent, year-round location. Submitted photo

THIRD MESA, Ariz. - The end of August 2013 marked Hopitutuqaiki Art School's ninth year teaching students on Third Mesa on the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona.

The Hopitutuqaiki Art School is the only art school located on a federally recognized American Indian reserve. Master art teachers and instructors teach classes that focus on Hopi traditional art forms.

The school also offers classes in a number of contemporary art disciplines like glass-blowing, air brush painting, various types of fabric art making such as Trapunto quilting, free motion quilting and quilting with inks, photography and Hopi traditional art forms like Hopi belt weaving, Hopi kilt weaving, Hopi sifter basket making, Hopi foods, Hopi wicker plaque making and natural pigment painting. The school also offers two classes geared towards younger artists - art for kids and the award winning Preschool Hopi language program.

"Hopitutuqaiki Arts Program is a wonderful success, continuing many of the same classes offered since the beginning of the art school and we have added a few newer, more contemporary art classes in the past five years," said Dr. Robert Rhodes, Hopitutuqaiki school director and facilitator. "While the original goal of the Hopitutuqaiki Art School was to be a year-round magnet arts school, the summer program has been so successful, the board is still looking for donated land to start the year-round permanent school. For now this has been a very satisfying summer art school program."

Rhodes said finding a permanent location for a year-round school could be difficult.

"Land cannot be bought or sold, and construction dollars will be a challenge but not an impossible task," he said. "We are still hoping to find a permanent place to build a year round school that would incorporate Hopi language with the arts."

To help keep the Hopitutuqaiki art school in the public eye, a few of the traditional Hopi weaving classes will take place in the fall and winter months. The classes are limited to Hopi kilt (Bitkuna) weaving in September-October, Hopi dance sash (Mutsapmuenkwewa) in October-November and a wedding sash (Wukokwewa) class in April.

This year also marked the first time that Hopitutuqaiki helped sponsor a traveling open air art performance along with the Hopi Cultural Center at Second Mesa. The groups helped bring the Carpetbag Brigade, Hojarasca, Bio De La Adrenalina and Landscape Reinvention Society to the Hopi Reservation. The performance groups promote bi-lingualism and bi-culturalism through live performances.

Performers from these groups hail from Columbia, San Francisco and Tucson and performed dances, stilt-walked and performed on acoustic guitar and native percussion against the backdrop of the sunset evenings at Second Mesa.

These three nights of open air performance were an overwhelming success, providing a cross-cultural experience for Hopi and Navajo community members and visiting tourists who were staying at the Hopi Cultural Center allowing an inter-tribal exchange of ideas, art performance and music in a family atmosphere.

The Hopitutuqaiki is also launching its first fundraiser this year - a calendar project. The hard gloss calendar costs $10 plus shipping for off-reservation orders or $10 flat rate for local clients. People can purchase a 2014 Hopitutuqaiki Art School calendar at hopischool.net.

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